Reverse Colours Khaki Redcoats # 1

 

As well as the odd redcoat repaint of dull khaki figures, some figure manufacturers did the opposite and painted their ceremonial or redcoat figures khaki.

This interesting khaki Scotsman figure joined my collection as a Father’s Day gift. It has a damaged base but was with several Johillco khaki figures.

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Left is the base of Johillco Khaki British soldier, right the damaged base of my khaki Scotsman. Figures: Man of TIN collection.

Several of these khaki redcoat figures are featured in the interesting “Unknown or Unidentified Manufacturers” section of Norman Joplin’s beautiful Great Book of Hollowcast Figures.

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Sketch book of possible Khaki highlanders – I think mine is a Charbens Khaki highlander. Figure / sketches: Man of TIN

Maybe this was wartime expediency, converting a parade or ceremonial range into utility khaki for topical or patriotic appeal?

Maybe this was a childish or parent overpaint?

Interestingly Norman Joplin notes of toy soldier manufacturers that: “Khaki was sometimes repainted with red or blue when Khaki uniforms fell from favour” (page 95, The Great Book of Hollowcast).

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Ladybird Leaders first information books No. 16 Soldiers with text by John West and illustrations by Frank Humphris (1975),  another of my bashed childhood information sources.

When Khaki replaced Red

Khaki came into use during Victorian Colonial Wars; the redcoats last were regularly worn by British troops in 1885 at the Battle of Gennis in the Sudan Campaign.

Insert your own reference to Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army here in his old red coat, fixed bayonets and “they do not like it up ’em!” Several companies now make redcoat and khaki figures of Corporal Jones.

The factual basis of Corporal Jones’ character in his redcoat and khaki days is set out here:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance_Corporal_Jones

A fascinating illustrated article on the development and decline of the Redcoat uniform in Britain and its ceremonial survival worldwide can be found here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_coat_(British_Army_and_Royal_Marines)

Another good example of hobby learning: how technology of cloth, dye and weapon along with politics, geography, climate and (social) history are all to be found in the now deemed slightly odd but still pleasurable hobby of painting toy soldiers!

The two Boer wars were probably the turning point in tactics and uniforms, developing a trend for clothing matching the battlefield and climate that had unifficailly been going on in India and across Empire since the early Nineteenth century.

It was the end of black powder and smoky battlefields, an age of more individual fighting, snipers and improved rifles, not to mention binoculars, balloons and aeroplanes; all these made bright colourful uniforms too conspicuous. The French poilu soldiers in their red and blue, almost Napoleonic French flag uniforms learned this the hard way in the first years of World War One. The age of drab camouflage colours and in the toy world  “green army men” had arrived.

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The drab but interesting final page of Ladybird Leaders No. 16 Soldiers, 1975,  illustration by Frank Humphris. Interestingly  the Germans are not pictured in this book from about 1870 onwards.

Repainting the drab green toy soldiers in bright colours has been my mild reverse protest against the age of drabness ever since:

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Figure Painting / photo: Man of Tin
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Pound store warriors: Figure painting / photo: Man of TIN.

Other people’s repaint efforts now in my collection: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/obe-repaint-figures-1/

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Airfix 1960 Infantry Combat Group  repainted as Victorian redcoat British Infantry (figure painting / photo Man of TIN)

Including my  Trumpton / Camberwick Green Pippin Fort inspired redcoat repaint of Pound Store figures and Airfix Japanese infantry:

RIP Gordon Murray, inventor of Trumpton, Chigley and Camberwick Green.

Happy hobby learning, painting, collecting and gaming to you all!

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, 30 June 2016.

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Peter Laing Sheep

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Peter Laing 15mm miniatures range sheep – my only one!

Hence the protection of a well armed Peter Laing Ancient “shepherd”.

This is Peter Laing figure A921 Sheep Standing (as opposed to the more dynamic A922 Sheep Grazing) from his Medieval range.

Peter along recommends it for Dual Use or Suitable Items From Other Ranges in his catalogue for sheep figures from Ancients, Feudal and Dark Ages, Renaissance and the English Civil War periods.

Sadly this sheep doesn’t quite have what it takes to make it into Peter Laing’s recommended figures for Marlburian, the American War of Independence, Napoleonic, 19th Century, Wild West or 20th Century (WW1 or WW2).

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Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, June 2016.

Home cast antique and gilt paint finishes

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A very long time ago as a child I was bought a jumble job lot  of toy soldiers, mostly plastic but amongst them was this trio of metal soldiers.

I painted their hats, coats and boots but never finished them. I had no idea what they were, who made them or what to do with them as they were 40mm tall, bigger or smaller than my other figures. So no real use or match. On their base I could just make out the letters HE which meant nothing to me at the time.

Fast forward to ten years ago: poking around a craft shop on a trip to Cornwall, I discovered a tiny cache of Prince August moulds for making traditional toy soldiers which I bought straight away.

I had seen as a child intriguing adverts for this company in modelling magazines but the dangers of hot metal and shortage of pocket money as a child  meant that I never bought any.

Looking through the Prince August  online catalogue, I recognised these strange random trio of figures, their designer’s name HE (Holgar Eriksonn) and sent off for some PA moulds to find out at long last how they worked. And to give this three man patrol  some company  to pick on of their own size.

http://shop.princeaugust.ie/h-e-40mm-scale-military-moulds/

I found these figures are Prince August PA17 Musketeer, PA23 Musketeer standing and PA24 kneeling.

Playing around with paint finishes

There are many possible finishes for these shiny Prince August castings.

One suggestion is pewtering, an idea from their cast your own chess sets ‘antique finish’. Black acrylic paint is painted over the figures, then fairly quickly wiped off with a cloth or kitchen roll before fully dry.

Another alternative is the simple gilt or gold paint finish.

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I tried out the gilt finish on another home casting, an American sailor drumming,  from a metal mould of a different much older (American?) manufacturer.

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The older type of metal home cast moulds (usually German or American origin) have much more flash and casting lines, requiring more time and filing to clean up than a modern rubber Prince August mould.

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Another gilt finish home cast Schneider mould figure in my collection with mould half.

 

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This is a 1910-20s gilt finish early British lead toy soldier in my collection (Photo / Figure: Man of TIN)

Sometimes I find stray home cast  figures in junk shops and online lots that are quite crude, often overpriced such as this cowboy type figure from another metal mould (in this cast in quite soft and bendy lead).

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They have a simple charm and many conversion or paint possibilities.

I have now tracked down a three figure (Schneider?) mould No. 56 of this cowboy and two Indian figures to produce more. At some point worth casting enough for a Close Little Wars home cast skirmish of settlers versus natives maybe?

Plastic Postscript 

This “fake pewter” or “antiquing”  technique can also be tried with some success on silver plastic figures from pound stores.

Compared to the original plastic figure:

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Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, June 2016.

Beachcombing Castle Ruins

imageimageimage.jpgOne of my useful beachcombing finds is this base of a mug or marmalade storage jar.

It makes a very useful ruined fort or watchtower.

A few simple bricks or stones have been inked onto the front.

Shown here with Peter Laing 15mm ancient infantry for size on top of Heroscape hexes.

Read my previous Beachcombing and gaming blogpost:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/lost-legions-1-fighting-on-the-beaches/

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, June 2016.

How to Feed Toy Soldiers

 

imagePicked up in a second hand bookshop years ago is an illustrated copy of this E. Nesbit Short story The Town In the Library, first published in 1901.

How to Feed Toy Soldiers …

This out of print 1987 Macdonald / Beehive Books edition of the Edith Nesbit story has interesting illustrations of toy soldiers by illustrator Shirley Tourret who died in 2007.

Some of the aspects of the story are an interesting and magical realist mixture of kaleidoscopic Chinese puzzle ‘box inside a box’ / ‘world inside a fantasy world’ of Lewis Carroll and H.G. Wells Floor Games and Little Wars. It is the familiar floor world of Wells’ Little Wars world of the Edwardian Nursery.

Two children Rosalind and Fabian are quarantined at home with measles on Christmas Eve. They are forbidden to open the top drawers of a bureau / desk but of course do and discover their Christmas treats and toys including blue and red toy soldiers.

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The short story from Nesbit’s 1901 book Nine Unlikely Tales is played out amongst buildings and forts made of books, in a H.G. Wells style but ideas of scale are played around with throughout the story and the children appear to shrink into this world or town inside their house’s library.

The blue toy soldiers appear out of their wood and straw box in a novel and exciting way – abseiling down the wood shavings to the floor below, a decorative feat in full Napoleonic gear.

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Thus is nicely pictured by Shirley Tourret with the soldier climbing down  the side of the text to the book’s floor.

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A similar abseiling paper soldier was recently featured in an innovative and imaginative 2010 art residency Remnants by Su Blackwell https://www.bronte.org.uk/contemporary-arts/artists-in-haworth/su-blackwell  at the Bronte Parsonage Museum, depicting the heroic characters leaping to imaginative life of the Bronte children’s juvenilia (Angria, Gondal and Glasstown) – see Pinterest,  http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/pdf/papermodels/blackwellcs.pdf or Su Blackwell’s website for more of  the images.

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Su Blackwell’s Remnants exhibition 2010 inspired by Bronte juvenilia at the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Photo: Su Blackwell website.

Captured by the blue toy soldiers, the children are persuaded to feed them their Christmas treats in a novel and unusual way. “I suppose you know how tin soldiers are fed?” Edith Nesbit / the narrator asks:

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The children are rescued by the traditional red coated heroes (Nesbit’s story was written in 1901 at the height of Empire after all) which Shirley Tourret depicts in almost 18th Century uniform and head gear. They are nicely portrayed amongst a battlement of books.

All very H.G. Wells and Little Wars …

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The story cleverly ends with the two children reappearing in their real nursery / library proper sized again but suffering from the fever of oncoming measles. So was it all a feverish dream or was it?

The book is an interesting mix of period uniforms, and absurd ideas for gaming scenarios such as the blue Napoleonic troops abseiling in full dress and shako.

The figures are stiffly posed in a toyness fashion when glimpsed as toys in some pictures but within the world of the bookish “Town in The Library” of the title and the children’s feverish imaginations the Toy Soldiers appear more animated, alive and human. This is cleverly distinguished in Shirley Tourret’s illustrations.

A sad postscript

The things you learn whilst exploring the world of toy soldiers.

As well as finding out about illustrators, you discover interesting things about the authors too.

Exploring Edith Nesbit’s life on Wikipedia, I found that Fabian and Rosamund the two children in the book are named after her own complicated family of birth and adopted children including a son Fabian, who died aged 15 in 1900, the year before this story was published in 1901.  She also was one of the nine founders of  the socialist Fabian Society in 1884 with her husband Hubert Bland, and her son Fabian was named after the society.

Nesbit’s children were Paul Bland (1880–1940), to whom The Railway Children was dedicated; Iris Bland (1881-1950s); Fabian Bland (1885–1900); Rosamund Bland (1886–1950), to whom The Book of Dragons was dedicated; and John Bland (1898–1971) to whom The House of Arden was dedicated.

Her son Fabian died aged 15 after a tonsil operation; Nesbit dedicated a number of books to him: Five Children and It and its sequels, as well as The Story of the Treasure Seekers and its sequels. Nesbit’s adopted daughter Rosamund collaborated with her on the book Cat Tales. (Wikipedia source: E.Nesbit)

At least Fabian lives on through this story.

Blogposted by Mr MIN, Man  of TIN, September 2016.

Pound Store Possible Warriors # 1

 

Further Pound Store plastic warrior possibilities sketched out in my notebook!

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Roman infantry for A Modern Roman Empire from “The Gory That Was Rome”?

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Pound Store small ‘pirate’ copies of other figures. (Figures: Man of TIN)
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Pound Store Plastic Warrior Redcoat sketch (Figure / sketch / photo: Man of TIN)

From Pound store plastic red coat to “Berlin Gray” / Space police?

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Lots of paint conversion possibilities.

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I like the way that familiar figures randomly reappear in different sizes in pound store bags.

I have these three different scale versions of the original Matchbox WW2 US Infantry Radio Man and probably the original Matchbox 1:72/76 and 54mm ones from childhood somewhere!

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, June 2016.

 

Simplest Featherstone rules ever?

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This very short back of postcard  rules featured in a very short chapter on Wargames by Donald Featherstone in Henry Harris’ book How to Go Collecting Model Soldiers, first published by PSL in 1969.

They seem a great distillation of his own rules and H.G. Wells, presumably as good for 54mm military models / conversions  as for smaller figures.

“Simple, isn’t it?” as Donald Featherstone puts it.

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Posted by Man of TIN, June 2016.